7 Ways to Experience Remote Patagonia
Spanning the borders of both Chile and Argentina at the tip of South America, Patagonia has terrain that is rugged and wild, and its remote atmosphere is what draws a huge pilgrimage of travellers to experience unparalleled flora and fauna. Here are seven things to do when visiting this uttermost part of the world
1. Hike the W in Torres del Paine
Be one with nature and hike the famous W circuit in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. It takes up to 5 days to complete the trail where you will have the opportunity to jump running streams, walk along glacier-filled lakes, scramble down boulders, and camp out next to the famed granite towers that dominate the landscape.
2. Grab Your Binoculars to Catch a Glimpse of the Fauna
Your chances of catching a glimpse of animals in their natural habitat are high in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. The animals are protected here as part of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve and you should not leave your binoculars at home. A zoom lens is key in catching the perfect shot of guanacos, the Andean condors and rheas.
3. Visit the Penguin Colony in Chile’s Strait of Magellan
Take a boat tour to Isla Magdalena off the coast of Punta Arenas to get up close and personal with over 50,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins. It’s worth the battle over 1.5 metre waves to get to the quaint island where these creatures come each spring to mate and then depart in the fall.
4. Experience a Day in the Country
Patagonia was built upon sheep and beef ranches (estancias) and there are many opportunities to experience a little taste of country life. You can take a day-tour of a working ranch or feel like a real gaucho by staying overnight and helping out as a farmhand.
6. Go Trekking on Moreno Glacier
Moreno Glacier is located 80 kms from El Calafate, Argentina, and is one of the most accessible ice fields in the world. It’s both an auditory and visual experience as huge icebergs calve from the glacier face. You can hear and see it all by putting on a pair of crampons while trekking on top of the ice field.
7. Enjoy the Taste of Patagonian Lamb
Lamb wipes beef off the South American map in Patagonia as one of the main regional dishes. Simply prepared and barbequed, it’s meaty and rich in flavor. An excellent place for a traditional lamb asado is at La Tablita in El Calafate, Argentina. (Photo by RAYANDBEE / Flickr Creative Commons)